Tomorrow, being October 1st, the anniversary of the birth of Dave Arneson, co-author of Original Dungeons & Dragons [(O)D&D], it is celebrated by many as Dave Arneson Day, much as the anniversary of the birth of Gary Gygax is proclaimed as his day. Amid some on-again, off-again grousing in some circles about who-did-what-when-and-so-forth, I wrote a recent blog post stating my position that there is plenty of credit to go around. So, enjoy the day, and if you're curious, you can find some bio info on him here. One group who takes Dave Arneson's participation in the invention of D&D very serious were the subject of a movie titled, "SECRETS of BLACKMOOR: The True History of Dungeons & Dragons" which you can rent on Vimeo here.
I recently heard about an old library building in Elwood, IN, that is up for sale and thought, "What a nifty game store this might be!" It's about an hour North-Northwest of Indianapolis's center, spacious, with large windows and wonderful woodworking. I daresay, once you've seen the pictures, it could be hard to imagine it as becoming anything else. Read more on MessyNessy here!
Pirate Fluxx is a fun, quick, addictive card game that never plays the same way twice. The rules change as the game progresses, offering uniquely high replay value. Now grab your cutlass, pirates have taken over Fluxx. There will be times ye must Talk Like a Pirate, and rules about how ye can Plunder from yer mates - even cards that let you play out of turn to take your enemies by Surprise. Playing the Captain's Hat gives ye certain privileges but watch out for Mutiny amongst the crew.
Come aboard and sail to Pirate's Cove, the legendary hideaway of thieving pirates and cutthroat buccaneers. The tales of those legendary pirates of old who've fought and survived these mysterious waters still haunt all those who yearn for a life at sea. Armed with a secret map and starting with a modestly outfitted sloop salvaged from last winter's storm, you set sail to Pirate's Cove, your eyes filled with visions of treasure and fame, your lungs filled with the salty air of the high seas.
Merchants & Marauders lets you live the life of an influential merchant or a dreaded pirate in the Caribbean during the Golden Age of Piracy. Seek your fortune through trade, rumor hunting, missions, and of course, plundering. The game features a unique trade system and a thematic combat system, allowing for critical decisions and intense excitement. Modify your ship, buy impressive vessels, load deadly special ammunition, and hire specialist crew members. Will your captain gain eternal glory and immense wealth - or find his wet grave under the stormy surface of the Caribbean Sea?
As a player, Gary Con Gaming Convention tends to be a place for me to jump into as many wargames as I can, since I get to RPG, and play boardgames and cardgames, for much of the rest of the year. For GMing, I really like busting out the big game for Gary Con, so I turn to a couple of favorites in Divine Right (1979) and Civilization (1980), as well as the traditional Saturday evening 1E AD&D game (with some of the same crew since Gary Con II!). Of course, start times on these submitted and approved events are not locked in just yet, but probability is high since they been run for many years in these slots, except for Civ which has an earlier start time than before. Don't worry about Civ running through lunch as we'll all order table side service. I'm looking forward to next March 26-29, 2020, as I do few other times of year!
A few years ago, I posted about One Hit Die, a YouTube series which is a "a fantasy comedy genre mashup of 'Lord of the Rings' and 'The Office.'" I recently received an email from the creator, Spencer Estabrooks to let me know they have a third season "launching 1 episode per week for the next seven weeks." If you've never watched before, start with episode one.
There's been a rash of discussion lately (it happens periodically) on the D&D legacy and I thought I would give my own perspective. I grew up in Northern IL and started wargaming in the early 1970s, adding D&D to the gaming mix when it was first published in 1974. The wargamers I knew and who taught me in those early days were often the guys from the local military bases who also made trips to Lake Geneva for the early Gen Cons and other wargaming. I didn't make it to a Gen Con until 1975. The folks I played with back in those days were always aware of Dave Arneson's contributions to D&D, as well as the the whole MN contingent, especially Dave Megarry whose Dungeon! boardgame gave so many of us many hours of fun gameplay. His game was a sort of shorthand for how to start designing dungeons for a homebrew and also helpful when trying to explain to non-gamers how D&D worked!
What I like to think of as The Fertile Crescent of RPGs
As near as I can tell, for me as an outsider (non-TSR, non-Industry-person) who gamed in the early days, it wasn't until the advent of the Internet when some reprobates started the pissing contests. That Dave Arneson had moved on from TSR was known by me and my friends but none of the details really from either "side." The recent articles on that site beginning with K are manufacturing more of the same false animosity that some early Internet trolls were fashioning out of ignorance and a need for attention.
The author of the Gygax legacy "hatchet piece" and the more recent TSR "rift" piece came to Lake Geneva and tried to interview a number of people prior to the first article and most wouldn't speak with her. It's my understanding Gary's widow was unaware this author seemingly had an agenda. When that writer contacted me (she contacted lots of locals who were formerly in TSR or who are in the current gaming scene), I told her to feel free to come by the game store (figuring she would anyway and I'd rather be aware she was there) but told her I wasn't interested in being recorded or interviewed, though I was happy to talk to her, since she said she was a gamer. It was very clear from the start she was asking leading questions and looking to find quotes and sound bites to further a predetermined narrative. She hung out around twenty minutes or so and our conversation led me to believe her gaming background was with console and video games rather than tabletop games, though she had a smattering of TTRPG knowledge. I was not looking forward to the article given my experience talking to the author. The second "rift" article just confirmed what we already knew from the first piece.
As far as I am concerned, the appreciation of the early games and their progenitors is not a zero sum game. There's plenty of credit to go around and there are plenty of reasons to celebrate everyone. Dave Megarry is a big part of Gary Con as I am sure Dave Arneson could or would be if he was still with us. Heck, I love the idea of a Arnecon in MN in late September or early October (his b-day being Oct 1st). Of course, in the meantime, running stuff by Dave Arneson and paying tribute to him during Gary Con isn't going to ruin anyone's day either. It's all good.
A small but dedicated band of gamers got together on Saturday, August 24th, 2019, to game for twelve hours and raise money for "Extra Life 4 Kids."
The place was 330 Center Street in Lake Geneva, WI, the former home of Gary Gygax, the place where he first published the original Dungeons & Dragons. The games were 5th Edition Dungeons & Dragons, four sessions, each DMed by a skilled storyteller for a handful of intrepid player-adventurers, some with gaming experience that dates back to when Gary still resided and ran games in this storied home.
One of the players involved was the youngest son of Gary, Alex Gygax, and another was a grandson of Gary's, Mike Gygax. The event was streamed live as viewers could pledge to the cause and doing so allowed the benefactor to give support to either the players or the Dungeon Master with re-rolls, advantage, critical hits, healing potions, magic items, and even naming the characters. The event raised over three thousand dollars in donations!
This is the first time a D&D game was live-streamed from this historic site. Yolanda Frontany and her husband, the current owners of the home, were kind enough to allow this event to take place. They've been very generous opening up this treasured location for gamers from time to time, particularly during the Gary Con Gaming Convention, an annual event started by Luke Gygax to commemorate the many achievements of the father of roleplaying games. It's a celebration happening every March in Lake Geneva which highlights Old School gaming.
John Gilbert was a player and the Extra Life coordinator (with special thanks to Jason O'Brien) while Bill Allan was the producer, as well as being a DM and player. Working with Bill on the technical side of the event were the director, David Karaffa, and Tony K adding technical support (as well as playing in the final game). Alongside Bill, the DMs also included Larry Hamilton, Fenway Jones, and Travis Taube. I was also honored to be asked to play in the event.
The event streamed on Twitch and has since been uploaded to YouTube and there is a playlist for the full event to watch here.
Owner of Creative Mountain Games, I help manage Lake Geneva Games and I've been a tabletop gamer since first playing hex-and-chit as well as miniatures wargames in the early 70s, adding RPGs in 1974 with (Original) D&D, boardgaming all the while, and even adding in Magic the Gathering and other card games along the way.